The focus of this blog is autism but I have for some time expressed my concerns about the use of Tasers. One reason for my concern is that some people die after being Tasered. Another is that, despite the fact the very real danger faced by policer officers every day they are on duty, many Taser victims are stunned simply because they were "non-compliant" with verbal commands. In the Vancouver tragedy the gentleman who was non-compliant, (if he was, the video doesn't even clearly show non-compliance), did not understand English. Some autistic persons, with limited communication skills and behavioral deficits have also been Tasered. A recent episode involving a hearing impaired man in Wichita, Kansas again illustrates the tendency of police forces to Taser citizens for non-compliance.
KWCH reports that Donnell Williams, a hearing impaired gentleman in Wichita, Kansas had just gotten out of his bathtub and was wearing only a towel around his waist when he saw police pointing Tasers at him. Williams, getting out of the tub, was not wearing his hearing aid without which he is essentially deaf. The police were responding to a false shooting call and were allegedly worried for their own safety when the towel wearing man refused to obey their commands to show his hands. Williams said "" I ain't never been so scared,I kept going to my ear yelling that I was scared. I can't hear! I can't hear!"
The officers who Tasered the hearing impaired gentleman in his own bathroom have apparently apologized.